Is it I, Lord?

Blood Money

 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”

He said to him, “You have said it.” — Matthew 26:23-25

“Lord, is it I?” The disciples have asked in turn, and Jesus now answers. “He who dipped his hand with me will betray Me.” Consider the callousness of a heart that could betray a man to death and then sit and eat a meal alongside Him, with no one else being suspicious. Jesus confirms the path He is on to death, but says “Woe to the man by whom the Son of God is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he’d not been born.”

The betrayal of Jesus will not go unmet. Judas, perhaps like a child, unsure if he’d truly been discovered, and faced with the shame which comes with the expressions of disbelief and disgust from his peers, asks: “Rabbi, is it I?” Judas didn’t have to ask, he’d already been paid. He had already collected. Judas calls Him “Rabbi”, or Teacher. No room has been made in the heart of Judas for Christ Jesus as Lord. Jesus, where Judas is concerned, remains Rabbi. Jesus responds to Judas’s question, “You have said it.”

At this point, Judas has only asked a question, but Judas did say it as he negotiated with the chief priests. What Judas thought had been accomplished in secret was known to Jesus. He had been discovered in the very act.

Who is Jesus to you? Is He an ancient teacher? A novelty of your church experience? Part of your family traditions and customs? Is He Lord? What betrayal of His precepts and trust do we still find ourselves guilty today? Will the Lord God fail to interpret our misdeeds and motives?

Move forward men. Stop eating with Jesus while violating His Lordship. Prepare your heart to receive Christ in truth, as a betrayer in need of His saving. Will we ask, “Is it I Rabbi?” Or will we cry out to Him— “Lord, it has been me, but cleanse me!”?

Vance Durrance

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Surrender to the Word

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me. – Galatians 1:18-24

Paul recounts his story to Galatia. After 3 years in Arabia and Damascus, Paul finally went to meet Peter in Jerusalem. They spoke at length about Christ’s gospel for 15 days. The only other apostle he saw was James, the brother of Jesus. After this Paul went to the region of Syria and Cilicia where he was unknown except as “he who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” By Paul’s conversion story the people of that place glorified God.

How many of us can say that when we found Jesus we spent three years with our faces in the Word and on the ground in prayer? How many of us have allowed our conversion experience to radically alter our course and lives? We often convert and settle into a passive life of indifferent church attendance. We accept salvation as the “free gift”, but we refuse to surrender Lordship. Is that what the Holy Spirit calls us to? Paul was so incredibly moved that his experiences shaped a region that didn’t even recognize him by face. How many of us are known by our commitment and action in the faith? More often we are known by our trades. Is our identity in Christ or in a profession? Do others glorify God by what they see happening in you and me? If you had 15 days off, how would you spend it? Would you go search out a “Peter” to share stories and grow in the faith or lounge by the coast?

Move forward men, with impact as you go. Be recognizable as a follower of Jesus the Nazarene. Surrender Lordship to the One True God and be led into everlasting change and reward.

Vance Durrance

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